by Ken Golliher:
There are no "requirements" for opening an estate account or any other type of account other than those imposed by an individual institution. They vary from one bank to another and terminology is affected by state law.
In general, banks might require:
* A copy of a recent court order naming the personal representative of the decedent's estate. It can be called an order of appointment, letters testamentary, or any one of a number of things.
* A death certificate. (In my mind, it was the judge's responsibility to require proof of death before issuing the order. I would not do this.)
* Identification for the individual named as the personal representative. (There will be no other signatories.)
by John Burnett:
Under CIP minimum requirements, you have to obtain three pieces of information -- the name of the customer, a residential or business street address, and the correct TIN for the customer. Then you have to verify enough of that information to form a reasonable determination you know the true identity of the customer.
From my perspective, that means you need the probate court order appointing the personal representative of the estate (sometimes referred to as "letters testamentary"), some reasonable verification of the address provided, and, if you require it, a copy of the IRS correspondence assigning an EIN to the estate.
Then, to ensure you are dealing with the right individual, get evidence of his/her identity (the typical evidence is a government-issued document with a photo and signature of the individual, such as a driver's license or state-issued ID, passport, etc.)